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Issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality

Rochester Institute of Technology The causes of conformity among individuals have long been debated and researched in recent decades. The research examined for this piece fits the categories of a model proposed to explain the five main motivational reasons to conform: This piece will attempt to gather evidence for these five motivations using modern research findings.


Many people imagine themselves as unique individuals unlike anyone else; indeed, we all possess specific characteristics that distinguish issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality from the crowd. However, despite our imaginations and wishful thinking, the majority of human beings comply with some set of societal rules most of the time.

Cars stop at red traffic lights; children and adults attend school and go to work; policemen are paid to protect our communities. These are examples of conformity for obvious reasons; without compliance with certain rules of society, issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality entire structure would break down. Why, though, do individuals give in to less important reasons to conform? Why do college students play drinking games and elementary school children shun the outcast child?

Correctness Simply put, individuals strive to be accurate and correct in their judgments and observations; they often rely on social cues around them to aid in interpreting a given situation.

An important study examined how an individual's motivation to be accurate was influenced by the social pressure created by a group of inaccurate individuals. It was observed that when a task of low difficulty a task with an obvious solution was presented to a subject, the subject's motivation to perform the task correctly lessened the impact of social pressure created by a group who answered the task incorrectly.

In other words, even though everyone else answered differently, the subject knew the correct answer to the task with confidence and therefore felt less pressure to agree with the incorrect group. However, when the difficulty of the task was increased considerably, the subject looked to the group for cues on how to answer.

Again, the group answered incorrectly on purpose; it appears that when we are unsure of how to perform a task or how to behave, we may take comfort in agreeing with a large number of other people. In a second study, confidence of the group was manipulated; the individual was again given a difficult task where the group answered incorrectly. This time, the group expressed very low or no confidence in their answer to the task.

It was observed that the group's lack of confidence had no significant effect on the individual subject's reliance on the group for social cues. Another study examined levels of conformity across age groups; it was predicted that older adults would feel less impact from social pressure than would young adults.

Subjects were asked to judge geometric shapes an unemotional stimulus and facial expressions an emotional stimulus by providing them with labels from a set given to them such as circle or square for the shapes, and anger or fear for the facial expressions. The question addressed by the researchers was whether or not the two age groups would be affected by surrounding social pressure when asked to judge the stimulus.

The hypothesis issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality confirmed; older adults showed less reliance on social pressure to make their judgments. It would appear that as individuals age, they gain a better sense of judgment and independence, which is augmented by their growing experience Pasupathi, 1999.

In the case of this issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality, both age groups were concerned with being correct, but the younger group seemed to rely more on each other when making decisions.

It is clear from these experiments that people are very concerned with being correct, leading to conformity across many situations. Social Acceptance There have been numerous studies that illustrate the ways in which human beings strive to be accepted as part of--or at least avoid being rejected by--a social group. One such study was conducted to examine multiple reasons that college students engage in the risky behavior of playing drinking games.

It was hypothesized that college students often engage in these drinking games because of an anticipated outcome, or rather, an outcome that some individuals intend to induce by participating such as new friendships, relationships, and greater popularity.

Another fascinating study examined the human fear of rejection; it was predicted that when people issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality asked to express their opinion on a particular topic, those who perceived themselves as holding the minority opinion would be slower to express that issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality than would the people who perceived themselves as issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality the majority opinion.

Not only was this prediction found to be true, but as the perceived size of the minority group decreased, the minority individual expressed even more hesitancy in the expression of their opinion. Interestingly, this slow response did not appear to be affected by the strength of the attitude being expressed issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality the knowledge that the subject would issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality to make their opinion publicly known.

It appears that when people feel they belong to the minority of a group they become reluctant to express their own opinions because they can foresee negative consequences of not fitting in with the majority. This demonstrates how social influence can be a powerful force affecting the expression of opinions Bassili, 2003. An interesting study was conducted to measure peoples' reactions to issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality behavior and how these reactions contributed to the maintenance of culture stereotypes.

Participants were set up to lose a competition with either a "typical" or an "atypical" man or woman. In this particular study, gender deviance was the measure of typicality; if males and females behaved in accordance with what was expected of their gender and were therefore considered "typical", researchers believed there would be relatively little backlash from the loser subject.

For instance, if a male subject lost a computer game to a female, the female would be viewed as having behaved "atypically" for her gender, and would receive greater backlash from the male subject than if he had lost to another male.

Participants were then given the opportunity to thwart these individuals so that they would be unsuccessful in future competitions. It was found that people were more willing to undermine the atypical individuals, an action ultimately resulting in the increased self-esteem of the subjects; this behavior seems to imply psychological rewards for punishing deviant behavior. People want to preserve social order; the consequences of atypical behavior are unfavorable, so we conform--and are rewarded--for doing so.

Another study conducted on the influences of social pressure on acceptance or rejection was a study in which it was hypothesized that perception of increased social pressure would weaken the connection between a person's attitude and their resulting behavior. It was found that under conditions of no social pressure from a surrounding group, participants' attitudes appeared to be fairly good predictors of their behavior.

However, as perceived social pressure was raised, it was found that attitudes were less able to predict behavior accurately.

For instance, if a subject had no objections to smoking cigarettes, in the absence of any social pressure, the subject would smoke. From these four experiments, it is reasonable to conclude that many times we choose to conform because--whether consciously or subconsciously--we all desire to fit in somewhere, with someone. Group Goals Another reason for conforming would appear to be the desire to accomplish group goals, which has been illustrated in several studies. In one study, subjects were first given a stimulus story to read and interpret on their own.

The subjects were then exposed to the feedback of other participants and were allowed to change their attitudes if desired. It appeared that the subjects worked towards a common goal together through discussion, eventually coming to mutual agreement and conforming.

In a study on cooperation in sports teams, it was found that the perception of one's own sacrifice and the sacrifices of other team members contributed to a feeling of togetherness and equity which, in turn, contributed to the team members' notion of conforming to the group norms.

For the study, state-level sports teams were chosen because of issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality high degree of competitiveness in game play. From these studies it can be concluded that accomplishing group goals is a relevant reason for conforming within the past several decades. Social Identity In terms of establishing and maintaining a self-concept and social identity, there appears to be much evidence supporting cultural and sex-typed reasons for conforming.

An examination of the history of conformity in America and Eastern Asian cultures over the past few decades revealed that individuals' decisions to issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality and to what extent are largely a product of culture.

Conformity and Group Mentality: Why We Comply

It is thought that uniqueness in America is often associated with the positive outcomes of freedom and independence. In Eastern Asian cultures, however, conformity implies the positive outcomes of issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality and issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality.

In the study, conformity was represented in the targets most preferred by East Asians and uniqueness was represented in the targets preferred by Americans. Overall, the study showed that even simple and mundane preferences, such as the choice between a pattern of squares or a pattern of circles and squares, are heavily influenced by culture.

Another study involving the effects of culture on conformity looked at the change in conformity in the United States over the past five decades as well as the difference in conformity across different countries.

It was found that levels of conformity have steadily decreased in the past five decades in the U. This study also illustrated how important an influence someone's culture can be in their decision to conform. In addition to culture, another manner in which we form a social identity is that of conforming to sex-typed norms.

In a study that described the construction of the Issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality to Masculine Norms Inventory CMNIeleven factors were found that contributed to the sex-typed norm of a masculine person including traits such as dominance and self-reliance. One of the hopes of the researchers for this study was to identify particular attributes, such as risk-taking behavior, that may be detrimental to men's health.

Ultimately, the researchers were looking for information that would aid in improving men's health and lifespan. In identifying these eleven traits, the researchers demonstrated that there are established masculine norms to which men are encouraged to follow Mahalik, et al. A second study of this kind looked at sex-typed norms in the individual's social world and the role that these norms play in developing a self-concept.

The study mentioned that standard norms associated with men are dominance, power, and aggression, and those associated with women are intimacy, emotions, and nurturance. From this study it would seem that the rewards of conformity depend on one's self-concept concerning sex-typed norms; if these are viewed as part of the social identity then positive feelings will result when the norms are expressed as part of a relationship.

As demonstrated, these articles show how conformity and developing a social identity can depend largely on one's culture and one's interpretation of the sex-typed norms.

Alignment With Similar People One final aspect of conformity involves incorporating ourselves into certain groups, or in other words, aligning ourselves with similar individuals and forming an in-group. In a study on behavioral consequences, it was found that when tested for prosocial behavior, people reacted more positively to in-group members people they identified with. Also, fellow in-group members were more readily approached than out-group members.

From this study it appears that we often identify so closely with a certain group that we can form large, unsupported prejudices against an out-group. In a final experiment in which in-group and out-group norms concerning discrimination and fairness were manipulated, in-group norms were found to be important in both natural and experimental groups.

A group of participants were told they were detailed perceivers after reporting their estimation of the number of dots on a page. The detailed perceivers were then asked to allocate money between other detailed perceivers the in-group and a group of global perceivers the out-group.

The findings of the study included an in-group bias; there was a tendency to favor the in-group in terms of distributing a reward.

Also, the in-group was evaluated more positively than the out-group on an evaluative scale; the participants were asked, with a 100-point scale, to describe the likelihood of detailed and global perceivers to exhibit behaviors such as creativity, intelligence, and irritability. Again, this study illustrates how one can become so closely identified with a particular group that unfair bias and preferences can emerge.

The social advantage to conforming to an in-group is that one does not become part of an outcast group that receives a negative bias from another in-group. Clearly, much research has been conducted over the past several decades to determine why individuals choose to conform and why they choose to conform to a certain degree. This research fits into the five main motivations for conformity: This model is issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality promising structure for the explanation of conformity and group mentality.

Possible future research might include longitudinal research involving many countries concerning conformity as a cultural norm, and issues connected with groupthinks and group mentality examination of individual people and their reasons for choosing to conform in specific situations.